the Spell of the Moon is a collection
of artwork by children's illustrators from around the world. The artists donated
their work for this book with the proceeds going to IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People). Each artist illustrated a poem or song from his/her childhood and that selection appears in both English
and its native language. The title of the book comes from the Iranian poem "Amoo
Norooz" which was illustrated by Iranian artist Nasrin Khosravi:
The old woman in our tale
Wears her hair in forty braids,
Each spring on her verandah she
For Amoo Norooz,
And each time falls asleep
Under the spell of the moon.
Amoo Norooz is a character similar to Santa Claus who helps usher in the New Year in Persian
culture. (Amazon Review) Khosravi's illustrations are done in rich shades
of crimson, gold, cobalt blue, and deep green and have a Middle Eastern feel.
This is a wonderful book and it is hard to select a favorite among the illustrations. Some of the illustrations are extremely unique. Peter Cís
of the Czech Republic and USA illustrates the adage "Not to see a forest for a tree" with a picture of a little girl intently
chasing a butterfly with a net and not seeing the huge dinosaur-like creature composed of a city streets and buildings that
is right beside her. Lisbeth Zwerger of Austria illustrates the poem "Vice Versa"
by incorporating the text in her native Austrian into the grass in her illustration. Germany's Rotraut Susanne Berner illustrates "Eenie,
Meenie, Minie, Moe" by providing a picture of animals with camouflage bodies that help hide them in the background of the
There is a great variety in the text in the book from the above-mentioned adage "Not to see a
forest for a tree" and the rhyme "Eeenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe" to the Japanese
poem, "Good Night, Children" which ends with:
The setting sun sinks
The stars twinkle out
Night comes, and to every corner on Earth
sandman is coming.
Good night, children.
The Slovakian poem, "Clap, Clap Your Hands":
Clap, clap your hands,
The cats were picking pears,
They tore their coats of fur,
hung them on the gate, and
The tailor fixed them quick.
The Indian poem, "Rhinoceros":
Horn like a dagger,
Skin so rough –
The rhinoceros's body
Is very, very tough.
In her forward, author Katherine Paterson briefly recounts the story of Jella Lepman, the Jewish
journalist who after World War II advised the American forces that German children needed "the best in children's books from
all over the world – to feed their spirits so starved by years of cruel dictatorship and devastating war." Ms. Lepman was instrumental in forming the IBBY and saw sharing children's literature from around the world
with children as a way to foster friendships among children all over the world and give them a peaceful world in which to
Every illustration in this book is a gem. Additionally,
every artist has a unique style that dispels any notion that the illustrations in children's picture books are all the same
or are not truly art. These artists, through their illustrations and sharing
parts of their childhoods all over the world, are a part of Jella Lepman's legacy.
Review of Amoo Norooz and Other Persian Folk Stories by Ahmad Jabbari
at Amazon. Com http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1568590652/103-6718704-3686257?v=glance&n=283155. Accessed February 10, 2006.
Lepman Biography at IBBY website. http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=398. Accessed February 10, 2006.